The Ford Library has extensive audiovisual holdings in many formats. Most items are among the historical materials donated to the U.S. Government by President Ford, but material has come from many other sources as well.
Publishers and news organizations make heavy use of the collections, ordering reproductions by mail and telephone. On-site users are more typically students and scholars supplementing their research in papers. They may look at photographs in order to describe an NSC meeting more vividly, for example, or they may watch videotapes of news broadcasts to better understand press relations.
The audiovisual reference staff can help you find, use, and buy copies of what you need. The following descriptions summarize the library's audiovisual holdings and provide a basis for requesting further help from library staff. When publishing photographs, researcher's credit line should read "Courtesy, Gerald R. Ford Library."
Much of the audiovisual materials, including all White House-produced photographs, motion picture films, and audiotapes, are in the public domain. Other material, such as donated items and White House Communications Agency news videotapes, are subject to copyright law (see "How does copyright law affect research?"). The Ford Library makes copyrighted material and reproductions available solely for private study, scholarship, or research. Audiovisual researchers must obtain permission from the copyright holder to publish or display materials, or deposit them in other institutions. It is the researcher's responsibility to determine copyright status. The library will provide what information it can, upon request.
GERALD R. FORD PRESIDENTIAL MATERIALS
WHITE HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHIC OFFICE (ca. 290,000 photos)
The office provided still-photographic coverage of Mr. Ford's day-to-day activities as Vice President and President. David Kennerly, a photojournalist whom Ford met while Vice President, and four other photographers, took approximately 290,000 photos of Mr. Ford and his staff and family. They took the photos in White House meeting rooms, offices, and the family residence; at Camp David and aboard Air Force One; during trips overseas, vacations in Colorado , and campaign swings. Kennerly enjoyed exceptional access to the President. White House photographers also documented Vice President Rockefeller's activities, but the Ford Library has no negatives and only some photos from this work.
The photos in this collection may be viewed in binders of "contact sheets," or small images on photographic paper of each roll of film, arranged by the date the film was developed. These prints and negatives are in the public domain, and copies may be purchased and used without copyright restriction. Library staff have been working for quite a few years on a project to create a database indexing these photographs. Please contact the audiovisual staff for more information. They can offer a variety of strategies to help locate items.
NETWORK NEWS VIDEOTAPES (765 tapes)
The White House Communications Agency (WHCA) videotaped the CBS, NBC, and ABC nightly news broadcasts and edited them to delete stories unrelated to the President. WHCA broadcasted the summaries via cable throughout the White House complex. WHCA also taped all major broadcasts involving the President, including Ford's and Nelson Rockefeller's Vice Presidential confirmation hearings, the Nixon resignation, the Nixon pardon announcement and the subsequent Hungate Committee hearings, Ford's State of the Union addresses and other appearances before Congress, news conferences, much of the Republican National Convention, and the Ford-Carter campaign debates.
The videotapes are subject to network copyrights. Although such public events as news conferences are not copyrighted, the networks hold copyrights to their reporters's commentaries and any other supplemental information or images they provided. Researchers may acquire copies of the videotapes, but use of the copyrighted portions is restricted to private study and "fair use" in scholarship and research under copyright law.
WHCA kept a daily log of its videotaping, and this log serves as an inventory of the collection. In addition, library staff have compiled a few topical lists of videotaped programs, August 1974-January 1977: Vietnam War; Vice President Rockefeller; Watergate and Richard Nixon; the Middle East ; and intelligence activities, investigations, and oversight. Researchers can also find nightly news stories by using Television News Index and Abstracts, published by the Vanderbilt Television News Archives.
WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS AGENCY AUDIOTAPES (2,600 tapes)
WHCA taped President Ford's speeches, news conferences, and other public statements. It also taped the daily press briefings by the press secretary and his staff. Whenever White House staff, Cabinet members, Members of Congress, or other persons gave a press briefing at the White House, WHCA taped it. There are no copyright restrictions on these tapes, and daily WHCA logs inventory and describe them.
NAVAL PHOTOGRAPHIC CENTER FILM (710,000 feet of film)
Navy film crews covered the President, mostly at ceremonial events and major news events. Their films are 16-mm color, and most have magnetic sound tracks. A cross-reference index and shot cards for each reel of film are available. There are no copyright restrictions on this film.
SUMMARY OF OTHER AUDIOVISUAL HOLDINGS
AUDIOVISUAL COLLECTIONS DONATED
Many individuals have donated audiovisual items and collections. For example, the Joseph McIntosh photo collection documents the donor's and Ford's 1929 Eagle Scout guide experience at Mackinac Island State Park , Michigan . The Peter Vogt collection comprises materials accumulated in the production of the film Gerald R. Ford: The Presidency Restored. Hofstra University donated audiotapes and videotapes of its "Conference on the presidency of Gerald R. Ford" (1989). There are numerous other donors.
GERALD R. FORD COLLECTIONS
Photographs, audiotapes, motion picture film, videotapes, and film strips have been segregated from various segments of Gerald Ford's non-presidential materials. The audiovisual archives keeps them as the Ford Scrapbook Collection (1886) 1913-1992; Personal Collection, 1913-1992; Congressional Collection, 1933-1973; Vice-Presidential Collection, (1932) 1973-1974; and Post-Presidential Collection, 1977-1991.
GERALD R. FORD LIBRARY AND MUSEUM EVENTS COLLECTION
Included are audiotapes, videotapes, and still photographs produced by or for the library and museum. They document events, especially conferences, held at, or directly associated with, the library or museum. Among the conferences are "Congress, the Presidency, and Foreign Policy;" "New Weapons Technologies and Soviet-American Relations;" "The Presidential Nomination System;" "First Ladies: Private Lives, Public Duties;" "Humor and the Presidency;" and "The Presidency and the Constitution."
ITEMS TRANSFERRED FROM COLLECTIONS OF PAPERS, RECORDS, AND INTERVIEWS
Collections of personal papers, institutional records, and research interview transcripts, often contain audiovisual items, sometimes in large number. For preservation purposes, archivists segregate these items and transfer them to the audiovisual collection. For example, the files of Mrs. Ford's press secretary, Sheila Weidenfeld, contained hundreds of items on the First Lady and her interests. Lists of segregated audiovisual items are attached to the research room copies of finding aids of the collections where they were found.
PRESIDENT FORD COMMITTEE MATERIALS
Included are 32 primary and 71 general election Ford campaign commercials, a 30-minute biographical film aired election night, and miscellaneous commercials taped off the air from the campaigns of Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, and others. Also included are videotape, audiotape, and motion picture film used in creating the Ford commercials. The President Ford Committee donated to the people of the United States copyright to the material it produced.
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